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"Combine Cold War paranoia with a pinch of speculative pseudo-science and a dash of radiation anxiety, shake it in a cheap sci-fi tumbler for 70-minutes and you get KILLERS FROM SPACE. A very young Peter Graves plays the desert scientist studying nuclear blasts and counting the radiation. When his plane crashes after one blast and he's missing for a few days things change. A big, ugly cautery scar over his heart doesn't explain much, either. Of course, nobody believes him when he tells them there's a troop of ping pong ball-eyed aliens living in the caverns in Yucca Flats, poaching our electricity and growing gigantic beetles and rock lizards.... KILLERS FROM SPACE is goofy, and for all of its campy charm pretty slow moving. Graves plays "astonishment" in every key in his repertoire. The alien outfits and makeup aren't very convincing, but they look comfortable. The big bugs look like... well, they look like rear-screen projections with amplified sound (probably amplified to drown out the sound of the director shouting "Now look surprised, Peter!", "Now look astonished and disgusted, Peter!") Anyway, it's no sillier than most science fiction. I purchased this one because it's directed by master director Billy Wilder's brother W. Lee. If his name wasn't in the credits there's no way I'd know the two were related. Cult fans should get a kick out of this. The print quality is pretty poor, especially where the dubbed print was near the end or beginning of a reel. "
Attack of the hard boiled egg-eyed aliens
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 10/01/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"According to some, Killers From Space is a great example of a bad movie so bad that it is good; some would even grant it B movie cult status. I take more of a middle ground because, to me, the movie isn't really that bad. Sure, it has some silly aspects to it, but it's a lot more enjoyable than many a 1950s science fiction thriller you can find out there in the wild. Admittedly, the prominence of Peter Graves also helps because I can't help but think of him as a legitimate actor despite a good bit of evidence to the contrary.As for the plot, it all starts on a bright and shiny day when all kinds of folks have come together to watch the detonation of an atomic bomb - don't worry, they are all wearing goggles, so I'm sure they are in no danger whatsoever; as we all learned on Mystery Science Theater 3000, radiation can only hurt you if you touch it. Anyway, Dr. Douglas Martin (Peter Graves) is flying around above the explosion taking readings when his pilot spots a glowing object below and commences to take the plan into a vertical dive toward the earth. There is no sign of Martin's body in the wreckage, but no one could have survived the crash. Then, shortly thereafter, who should come wandering up to the gate of the local military base but Dr. Martin himself. He comes home with no memory of what happened, but he does have a shiny new surgical scar covering the left upper side of his chest. He soon begins acting strangely, and ultimately he gets nabbed hiding some secret information about the next atomic test under a rock in the desert. In with the truth serum, and out comes a story of aliens with hard-boiled eggs for eyes breeding a zoo of genetically mutated super-sized critters. He insists that the future of the planet is in grave peril, but no one believes him. Thus, as is always the case, it's up to Peter Graves to save the world single-handedly (and, as luck would have it, the aliens were stupid enough to pretty much tell him how to destroy them). Some individuals have posited that this film helped create a template for future alien abduction accounts. This idea is pure rubbish, in my opinion. Sure, the aliens have huge eyes that seem to haunt Martin, but no E.T. ever looked as stupid as these guys; Martin also wakes up on a table surrounded by aliens performing some kind of medical procedure on him, but the scenes in this movie are by and large pretty laughable. Besides the aliens, the other thing this movie is known for is its whole giant insect montage. When Martin tries to escape from the aliens, he winds up running around in their menagerie - in other words, he runs back and forth between some projection screens showing extreme close-ups of spiders, lizards, and other creepy-crawlies. This scene would have been fairly effective had the director shown any restraint, but these shots just continue for far too long. If you've seen Peter Graves in The Beginning of the End, you will feel quite at home here. In the final analysis, Killers From Space is obviously not a great movie, but I personally don't think it is quite bad enough to be considered a full-fledged "bad movie.""
A bizarre and unique sci-fi film
mythologue | 07/20/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This little movie usually gets lost in the vast crowd of 1950s sci-fi pictures, but it arguably is one of the most interesting. (I find it superior to W. L. Wilder's previous film, the still decent 'Phantom From Space' [see my review].) The aliens' physique and their plans for Earth, the minimal special effects and sets, and the use of stock footage showcase the sheer bizarreness of 1950s cult films - the lack of resources actually enhance the film's unique feel. The invasion-laden theme is common enough, but the way it is articulated sets the movie apart from most of its peers. The crucial scene, i.e. when the hero meets the aliens, is used as a lengthy flashback inserted near the middle of the film; it is only when the hero gets out of his trance/amnesia that the scene is shown. This seemingly innocuous device actually changes the whole dramatic perspective of the movie: in the first half, the hero acts against his own will, while in the second half, all of his decisions are oriented by his sudden recollection. This tight structure is effective because the script has none of the forced romance that slowed down many sci-fi films of the era. This is about as pure as a B-movie can possibly be, and lovers of cult films should see it."
B-Science Fiction Alien Movie
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 02/02/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This movie has all the trappings of classic B-science fiction movies. There are the cheesy aliens, the hokey, out-sized critters, awful space craft special effects, and lots of stock footage of aircraft that do not match the scenes or each other. In other words, this is great stuff. But wait, there is more! Peter Graves is the star!
Dr. Douglas Martin (Peter Graves) is monitoring test explosions of nuclear weapons from a jet. As Dr. Martin and the pilot are flying around, which is shown by an obvious model performing impossible turns, they see something unusual on the ground. Faster than you can say "I was kidnapped by aliens," their jet crashes into the ground, killing both. But wait, here comes Dr. Martin up to the main gate of the military base. We later found out that those evil aliens saved Dr. Martin so that he could help them learn when the next nuclear test is.
Everyone is suspicious of Dr. Martin because he is acting strangely. When he offers to take out the garbage his wife knows he has been brainwashed by aliens (okay, I made that up, but it could have happened!). After acting weird for a while, Dr. Martin returns to the aliens, where we learn that aliens from a planet that is dying want to move to earth, where the property values are higher, there is food for their giant critters collection, and, I almost forgot, our sun still shines.
What the aliens have been doing is stealing the power from our nuclear explosions. They have been saving it up in special nuclear power containers, which they keep powered by energy stolen from our electric grid. The aliens want the nuclear power because it will (as everyone has known forever) help their giant critter population explode, eventually eliminating every human on earth, which will then allow the aliens to move in. Of course, Dr. Martin immediately realizes that the evil aliens can be readily defeated by calmly explaining to the local authorities about the aliens and their giant critters waiting in caves in the ground, stealing the energy from our nuclear explosions, and they will insist the power grid be turned off, which will then unleash the nuclear energy, destroying the aliens. Have you ever wondered why no one listens to the one person who can save mankind in these movies?
I liked this movie. It was fun catching the mistakes in the stock footage (one kind of helicopter takes off, it becomes another kind of helicopter, and then switches back to the original - this is great stuff). It was also fun seeing the blown-up shots of horned lizards, tarantulas, and various insects, even though the gigantic invertebrates could not survive in our gravity. I guess the theory in these movies was that if you were going to stretch science, may as well totally throw science out the window. I also found it interesting that the super-sophisticated aliens needed Dr. Martin to tell them when the next nuclear explosion was going to happen. You would think these people had never heard of a circuit breaker.
Anyway, this was a fun movie with lots of veteran actors, such as Frank Gerstle, who also appeared in "The Wasp Woman," and John Frederick, who appeared in "The Alligator People." You just know that the actors in this movie are all class. If you like 1950s era B-science fiction movies, this one is, while less than great, worth a watch. "
Patrick Spencer | Blacksburg, VA United States | 03/17/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Killers From Space is everything you want in a B-movie about Aliens taking over the world. Peter Graves plays Dr. Douglas Martin, a nuclear scientist who is surveying a piece of land where an A-Bomb is tested. This begins a strange journey that leads him to believe that aliens are using our atomic energy to support themselves so they can unleash a deadly herd of giant insects that will devour all humans on the earth. It is one of my all time favorite B-Movies. A must see!!!"